Welcoming Marissa Cui and Nina Mehta to Designer Fund

Both designers and founders rely on a strong team to help them succeed. Having the right collaborators and colleagues can help startups achieve extraordinary results. With that in mind, we’re excited to welcome two of the latest additions to the Designer Fund team—Marissa Cui, our new venture fellow, and Nina Mehta, our intrepid community advocate. With their help, we aim to level up our community-building and bring a nuanced perspective to our venture work. Get to know Marissa and Nina more below.

Meet Marissa Cui

Marissa Cui joins the Designer Fund team as our newest venture fellow. A designer by trade, Marissa was most recently a senior product designer at Stripe, where she was part of the Stripe Climate & Frontier team that worked to build a market for carbon removal. Marissa previously worked on delivery logistics at Amazon and customer insights at Auryc (acquired by Contentsquare).

Currently pursuing an MBA at MIT Sloan, Marissa cares deeply about applying the design lens to solving complex business challenges and creating experiences that make a difference in our lives.

“Marissa has an incredible mix of product design skills, startup experience, and business knowledge,” shares Ben Blumenrose, our Co-founder and Managing Partner. “Having worked at Stripe and Amazon for over six years, she has a sharp eye for what product excellence looks like and we’re very excited to have her help us assess new investment opportunities and support our portfolio on product and design.”

When I mention joining Designer Fund to anyone who's known me for more than 10 minutes, they'd say, ‘that sounds like the perfect role’ and I couldn't agree more! Venture has always been an interesting field to me because it allows me to support really great companies at scale. Designer Fund's position also enables design to take a front seat to drive strategy and establish a company's competitive advantage. As a huge proponent of design as a lens to think about business, I'm super excited to learn from Ben and Enrique in the world of venture. Marissa Cui
Marissa Cui
Left: Hiking the mountains in Flåm, where Marissa visited with her MBA class as part of a sustainability-focused study tour. Right: Marissa and a group of friends get together to make a different soup each month.
Stripe Frontier
Portfolio overview page that Marissa worked on to showcase Frontier's diverse portfolio of novel carbon removal technologies.

Meet Nina Mehta

Nina Mehta joins as Designer Fund’s first ever community advocate. A Bridge alumnus, she returns to us to help run Designer Fund Collective, our private community of design leaders, advisors, and founders.

“Nina's rich experience in building and scaling design teams, paired with her warm energy and dedication to inclusivity, align perfectly with our goal of helping early stage startups improve the world through great design,” notes Robyn Park, Community Lead at Designer Fund. “We're excited to have her onboard and look forward to growing our community together.”

When I first met Enrique at 500 Startups, he helped me see the seedlings of a design community that was forming. And later when I joined Designer Fund's Bridge program, he and Ben described wanting create the community for designers what they wish they had when starting out. We’ve come so far and I hope build on that vision for the next generation of designers and their companies. Nina Mehta

With 20 years of design experience under her belt, Nina has led Product Design teams in San Francisco, Berlin, and New York with stints at Faire, Mailchimp, Stripe, Pivotal Labs, and more. Beyond leading design teams, Nina has co-organized a global art, music, and tech conference in Tokyo, supported scaling the Pivotal Labs design pairing practice across offices, and oversaw development of several Mailchimp sub-brands harmoniously bridging brand, product, content, and design system teams across experience strategies. Today, Nina coaches designers and consults with startups under her company Bitteschön Studio.

Nina looks forward to supporting and enriching the design community through her work with us—especially since she’s seen how our interpersonal and analog worlds have gotten smaller post-pandemic.

It takes more effort to commune with folks outside your immediate working peers today. And especially at startups with a small or no design team, you collaborate and learn mostly from folks in other functions. Designers need each other to deepen their connection to the craft and inspire new ways of thinking. We go through so many of the same challenges and opportunities in our work and I hope to help folks go through more of the thick and thin together. Nina Mehta

Now in Brooklyn, Nina brings a global view to her design practice, where she surfs, studies psychoanalysis, and reads tarot cards.

Nina Mehta
Left: Nina and her team at Pivotal Labs Berlin, where she helped scale the design practice alongside her leadership team. Right: Naoshima, Nina's beloved cat.
Nina Mehta conference
Nina at Startup the Party, a project-based tech, music, and arts conference she co-organized in Tokyo.